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Psal. li. xxxii. and xxxiii. were all composed by David after the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen
Nathan had convinced him of his sin with Bathsheba.' and Amen. (xli. 13.) It is worthy of remark, that the titles 4. Psalms during the Rebellion of Absalom. This class of all these psalms (excepting i. 11.2 x. xxxii.) ascribe them comprises eight Psalms.
to David: hence it has been supposed that this first book of Psal. iii. iv. Iv. Composed when David was driven from Jeru- psalms was collected by the Hebrew monarch.
2. The SECOND BOOK is termed DD (SEPHER SHENI): it salem by Absalom. Psal. Ixii. David professes his trust in God during the unnatu- LORD God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And
includes psalms xlii. to lxxii. and ends with—Blessed bé the ral persecution of his son,
blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be Psal. Ixx. lxxi. A prayer of David when pursued by Absalom. filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. The prayers of David Psal. cxliii. Written during the war with Absalom.
the son of Jesse are ended. (lxxii. 18-20.) From this termiPsal. cxliv. A thanksgiving for his victories over Absalom, nation of the second book of Psalms, some have conjectured Sheba, and other rebels. 2 Sam. xviii. 20.
that David also collected it, as nineteen out of the thirty-one 5. The Psalms written between the Death of Absalom and bear his name: but it is more likely that the concluding the Captivity are ten in number; viz.
sentence of psalm Ixxii. simply means the psalms of David Psal. xviii. David's solemn thanksgiving for all the blessings in that book, because several of his compositions are to be he had received from God. Compare 2 Sam. xxii.
found in the following books or collections. Psal. xxx. Composed on occasion of dedicating the altar on
3. The THIRD BOOK is called on DD (SCPHER SHELISHI): the threshing-floor of Araunah. 2 Sam. xxiv. 25.
it comprehends psalms lxxiii. to lxxxix. which is thus conPsal. xlv. Composed on the marriage of Solomon with a cluded': Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen and Amen.
king's daughter. It is throughout prophetical of the victo- | (lxxxix. 52.). Of the seventeen psalms included in this rious Messiah.
book, one only is ascribed to David; one to Heman; and Psal. Ixxviii. Composed on occasion of Asa's victory over the one to Ethan: three of the others are directed to the sons of
Korah, without specifying the author's name; and eleven forces of the king of Israel. See 2 Chron. xvi. 4, 6. Psal. Ixxxii. Instructions given to the judges, during the reign collector of this book.
bear the name of Asaph, who has been supposed to be the of Jehoshaphat king of Judah. See 2 Chron. xix. 5, 6. Psal. Ixxxiii. A triumphal ode, composed on occasion of Je-and also contains seventeen psalms, viz. from xc. to cvi.
4. The FOURTH BOOK is inscribed 37 700 (sePHER REBİNGI), hoshaphat's victory over the Ammonites, Moabites, and This book concludes with the following doxology: Blessed other enemies. See 2 Chron. xx. 1. et seq.
be the LORD God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting: and Psal. Ixxvi. Composed after the destruction of Sennacherib's let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD. (cvi. 48.) army. See 2 Chron. xxxii.
One of these psalms is ascribed to Moses, and two have the Psal. Ixxiv. and lxxix. A lamentation for the desolation of name of David in their title. The rest' have no authors'
the temple of Jerusalem : it was most probably composed names, or titles prefixed to them. The collector of this book at the beginning of the captivity.
is unknown. 6. Psalms composed during the Captivity; the authors of 5. The Fifth and last book is called goen 50 (seper which are unknown. Calmet ascribes them chiefly to the CHAMISHI), and consists of forty-four psalms, viz. from psalm descendants of Asaph and Korah.
cvii. to the end of cl. It terminates the whole book of Their subjects are wholly of a mournful nature, lamenting Psalms thus :-Let every thing that hath breath praise the the captivity, imploring deliverance, and complaining of LORD. Praise ye the Lord. cl. 6.) Of these forty-four the oppression of the Babylonians. These psalms, forty in psalms, fifteen are ascribed to David: the rest have for the number, are as follow :-x. xii. xiv. xv. xxv. xxvi. xxvii
. most part no titles at all
, and are anonymous. This book is xxviii. xxxvi. xxxvii. xlii. xliii. xliv. xlix. I. liii. Ix. lxiv. supposed to have been collected in the time of Judas
Maclxvii. Ixix. Ixxiii. Ixxv. Ixxvii. lxxx. lxxxiv. Ixxxvi. Ixxxviii
. cabæus, but by whom it is impossible to conjecture. Ixxxix. xc. xcii. xciii. xciv. xcv. xcix. cxx. cxxi. cxxiii, antiquity, because it was in existence before the Septuagint
This division of the Psalms into five books is of great cxxx. cxxxi. cxxxii.
Greek version was executed ;5 and as there are many Chaldee 7. Psalms composed after Cyrus issued his Edict, allowing words in those composed during or after the Babylonish capthe Jews to return from their Captivity,
tivity, the most probable opinion is, that the different collecThis class consists of thanksgiving odes for their release, and tions then extant were formed into one volume by Ezra,
also on occasion of dedicating the walls of the city, as well when the Jewish canon of Scripture was completed. But as of the second temple. They abound with the most live- whatever subordinate divisions may have existed, it is certain ly expressions of devotion and gratitude, and amount to that the Psalms composed but one book in that canon: for fifty-one; viz. cxxii. Ixi. Ixiii. cxxiv. xxiii. lxxxvii. lxxxv. they are cited by our Lord collectively as the “ Psalms " xlvi. xlvii . xlviii. xcvi. to cxvii
. inclusive, cxxvi. cxxxiii. to (Luke xxiv. 44.), and also as the Book of Psalms” (Luke cxxxvii
. inclusive, cxlix cl. cxlvi. cxlvii. cxlviii. lix. Ixv. xx. 42.), by which last title they are cited by St. Peter in lxvi. Ixvii. cxviii. cxxv. cxxvii. cxxviii. cxxix. cxxxviii.
Acts i. 20.; and they are reckoned only as one book in all According to this distribution of Calmet, only forty-five Christians.
subsequent enumerations of the Scriptures, both by Jews and of these psalms were composed by David. VI. At what time and by whom the book of Psalms was fifty: but in the Septuagint version, as well as in the Syriac,
The number of the canonical psalms is one hundred and collected into one volume, we have no certain information. Arabic, and Æthiopic translation, there is extant another Many are of opinion that David collected such as were ex- which is numbered cLI. Its subject is the combat of David tant in his time into a book for the use of the national wor- with Goliath (related in 1 Sam. xvii.) but it is evidently ship: this is not unlikely; but it is manifest that such a collection could not include all the psalms, because many of David's odes are scattered throughout the entire series. Some Acts iv. 25, 26,
2 The second psalm, however, is expressly declared to be David's in have ascribed the general collection to the friends or servants 3 Bishop Horsley, however, is of opinion that this is the close of the of Hezekiah before the captivity; but this could only apply particular psalm in question, and not a division of the book, as if these to the psalms then extant, for we read that Hezekiah caused that David the son of Jesse had nothing to pray for, or to wish, beyond the words or psalms of David to be sung in the temple when the great things described in this psalm. Nothing can be more
animated he restored the worship of Jehovah there (2 Chron. xxix. 25 than this conclusion. Having described the blessings of Messiah’s reign, -30.): the collection by the men of Hezekiah could not comprise any that were composed either under or subsequent
"Blessed be Jehovah God, to the captivity. That the psalms were collected together
God of Israel alone performing wonders;
And blessed be his name of glory, at different times and by different persons is very evident from
And let his glory fill the whole of the earth. an examination of their contents. Accordingly, in the Maso
Amen and Ainen. retic copies (and also in the Syriac version) they are divided
Finished are the prayers of David, the son of Jesse.” –
Bishop Horsley's Psalms, vol. ii. p. 195. into five books; viz. 1. The first BOOK is entitled 1818 100 (sepher Achap); it Psalmorum Collectione, Partitione, et Numero ; Roberts's Olavis Biblio
4 Rosenmüller, Scholia in Psalmos, Proleg, pp. xx.-xxv. c. 3. de comprises psalms i, to xli. and concludes thus :—Blessed be
3 Eusebius and Theodoret, in their respective Prefaces to the book of 1. Dr. Hales refers to this period psalm ciii. which is a psalm of thanks- Psalms, consider this book as ranking next in priority to the Pentateuch; giving. He considers it as David's eucharistical ode, after God had par. on which account it was divided into five parts or books, like the writings doned his great sin. Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. pp. 376, 377.
of Moses. VUL. II.
rum, p. 166.
spurious, for, besides that it possesses not a particle of Da- | are of very questionable authority, as not being extant in vid's genius and style, it never was extant in the Hebrew, Hebrew manuscripts, and some of them are undoubtedly not and has been uniformly rejected by the fathers, and by every of equal antiquity with the text, being, in all probability, council that has been held in the Christian church. It is conjectural additions, made by the collectors of the psalms, certainly very ancient, as it is found in the Codex Alexan- at different periods, who undertook to supply the deficiency drinus.
of titles from their own judgment or fancy, without a due Although the number of the psalms has thus been ascer-regard to manuscripts, yet we have no reason to suppose that tained and fixed, yet, between the Hebrew originals and the very many of them are not canonical parts of the psalms; Greek and Vulgate Latin versions, there is considerable because they are perfectly in unison with the oriental manner diversity in the arrangement and distribation. In the latter, of giving tiiles to books and poems. for instance, what is numbered as the ninth psalm forms two It is well known that the seven poems, composed in Aradistinct psalms, namely ix. and x. in the Hebrew; the tenth bic by as many of the most excellent Árabian bards (
anc psalm commencing at verse 22. of the Greek and Latin which, from being originally, suspended around the caaba 01 translations; so that, from this place to the hundred and temple at Mecca, were called Moallakāt, or suspended), were thirteenth psalm inclusive, the quotations and numbers of the called, al Modhadlebat, or the golden
verses, because they Hebrew are different from these versions. Again, psalms were written in characters of gold on Egyptian papyrus. (-xiv. and cxv. of the Hebrew form but one psalm in the Might not the six psalms, which bear the title of Michtam, Greek and Latin, in which the hundred and sixteenth psalm or golden, be so called on account of their having been on is divided into two. In the Greek and Latin copies also, the some occasion or other written in letters of gold, and hung hundred and forty-seventh psalm is divided into two, thus up in the sanctuary? D'Herbelot, to whom we are indebted completing the number of one hundred and fifty. The Pro- for the preceding fact, also relates that Sherfeddin al Baustestant churches, and our authorized English version, adhere siri, an Arabian poet, called one of his poems, in praise of to the Hebrew notation, which has been invariably followed Mohamined (who he affirmed, had cured' him of a paralytic in the present work.
disorder in his sleep), The Habit of a Derveesh; and, because The following table exhibits at one view the different nu- he is there celebrated for having (as it is pretended) given merations in the Hebrew and in the Septuagint version :- sight to a blind person, this poem is also entitled' by its Psal. i.-viii. in the Hebrew are Psal. i.--viii. in LXX.
author The Bright Stur.4' D'Herbelot further tells us that a Psal. ix. x.
Psal. ix. in LXX.
collection of moral essays was named The Garden of NnePsal. xi.cxi.
Psal. x.-cxii. in LXX.
monies. Psal. cxiv, cxv. Psal. cxiii. in LXX.
The ancient Jewish taste, Mr. Harmer remarks, may reaPsal. cxvi.
Psal. cxiv, cxv. in LXX.
sonably, be supposed to have been of the same kind and Psal. cxvii.cxlvi.
Psal. cxvi.cxlv. in Lxx. agreeable to this is the explanation given by some learned Psal. cxlvii.
Psal. cxlvi. cxlvii. in LXX. dren of Israel (2 Sam. i. 18.); which, they apprehend, did
men of David's commanding the bow to be taught the chilPsal. cxlviii.-cl.
Psal. cxlviii.--cl. in Lxx.
not relate to the use of that weapon in war, but to the hymn
which he composed on occasion of the death of Saul and VII. To most of the psalms? are prefixed INSCRIPTIONS or Jonathan; and from which they think that he entitled this TITLES, concerning the import of which expositors and in- elegy the Bow. The twenty-second psalm might in like terpreters are by no means agreed. Some hold them in the manner be called The Hind of the Morning (Aijeleth Shaprofoundest reverence, considering them as an original part har); the fifty-sixth, The Dumb in distant Places (Jonethof these divine odes, and absolutely necessary to the right elemirechokim); the sixtieth, The Lily of the Testimony (Shounderstanding of them, while others regard the titles as sub- shan-eduth); the eightieth, The Lilies of the Testimony (Shosequent additions, and of no importance whatever. In one shannin-eduth), in the plural number; and the forty-fifth, thing only are they all unanimous, namely, in the obscurity simply The Lilies (Shoshannim). That these appellations of these titles.
do not denote musical instruments, Mr. Harmer is of opinThat all the inscriptions of the psalms are canonical and ion, is evident from the names of trumpet, timbrel, harp, inspired, we have no authority to affirm. Augustine, Hilary, psaltery, and other instruments with which psalms were Theodoret, Cassiodorus, and many other ancient fathers, sung, being absent from those titles. If they signified tunes admit that they have no relation to the body of the psalm, (as he is disposed to think), they must signify the tunes to and that they contribute nothing to the sense. The Septua- which such songs or hymns were sung as were distinguished gint and other Greek versions have added titles to some of by these names, and so the inquiry will terminate in this the psalms, which have none in the Hebrew: the Protestant point, whether the psalms to which these titles are affixed and Romish churches have determined nothing concerning were called by these names, or whether they were some them. If the titles of the psalms had been esteemed ca-other psalms or songs, to the tune of which these were to be nonical, would it have been permitted to alter them, to sup- sung. Now, as we do not find the bow referred to, nor the press them, or to add to them? Which of the commenta- same name twice made use of, so far as our information goes, tors, Jewish or Christian, Catholic or Protestant, thinks it it seems most probable that these are the names of the very incumbent upon him to follow the title of the psalm in his psalms to which they are prefixed. The forty-second psalm, commentary! And yet both Jews and Christians receive it may be thought, might very well have been entitled the the book of Psalms as an integral part of Holy Writ. Al- Hind of the Miurning because, as that panted after the though, therefore, many of the titles prefixed to the psalms water-brooks, so panted the soul of the psalmist after God;
but the twenty-second psalm, it is certain, might equally well 1. The following is a translation of this pretended psalm, from the Septua- be distinguished by this title,—Dogs have encompassed me, gint, made as complete as possible by Dr. A. Clarke, from the different versions. See his Commentary on Psalın cli.
3 Psalms vi. Ivi. Ivii. Iviii. lix. Ix. D'Herbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale, "A psalm in the hand writing of David, beyond the number of the vol i. pp. 333, 415. psalms, composed by David, when he fought in single combat with Go- 4 D’llerbelot, Bibliothèque Orientale, vol. it. p. 624. It were easy to liath."
multiply examples of this kind from the works of oriental writers; a “1. I was the least anong my brethren, and the youngest in my father's few must suffice :-Among the works of modern Hebrew poets, enumerahouse; and I kept also my father's sheep. 2. My hands made the organ, ted by Sarchi, in his Essay on Hebrew Poetry (pp. 116—125.), A Treatise og and my fingers jointed the psaltery. 3. And who told it to my Lord i Morals, by Rabbi Clonimous ben Clonimous, is termed A Tried Stone; a col[Arab. And who is he who taught ine?] The LORD himself,–IIc is my lection of Festival Odes and Iłymns for the Jewish year, by R. Joseph Samaster, and the hearer of all that call upon him. 4. He sent his angel, loun, is designated Speeches of Beauty; a collection of Songs by R. Levi Bar and took me away from my father's sheep: and anointed me with the oil | Abraham Bar Chaim, on various scientific topics, is called The Tablets ana of his anointing." [Others have the oil of his mercy.) 5. "My brethren Earrings; a Collection of Prayers is the Gate of Penitence; and another were taller and more beautiful than I : nevertheless, the Lord delighted of Songs and Hymns on moral Topics, has the high-sounding appellation not in them. 6. I went out to meet the Philistine, and he cursed me by of The Book of the Giant.-In Casiri's list of works written by the cele. his idols. 7. (In the strength of the Lord I cast three stones at him. I brated Spanish-Arab statesman Ibn-U-l-Khatib, this author's History of smote him in the forehead, and felled him to the earth. Arab.) 8. And I Granada is entitled A Specimen of the Full Moon; his Chronology of drew out his own sword from its sheath, and cut off his head, and took the Kings of Africa and Spain has the lofty appellation of the Silker:. away the reproach from the children of Israel."--How vapid ! How un- Vest embroidered with the A'eedle; his Lives of eminent Spanish Arabs, like the songs of Sion, composed by the sweet psalmist of Israel ! who were distinguished for their learning and virtue, are termed Fragrant
2 The number of psalnıs without titles in the Hebrew Scriptures is Plants ; a tract on Constancy of Mind is Approved Butter; and, to men. twenty-six, viz. i. ii. x. xxiv. xxxiii. xliii. Ixxi. xci. xciii. to xcix. inclusive, tion no more, a treatise on the Choice of Sentences is designated Pure ciy, cv.cvii. cxiv, to cxix. inclusive, cxxxvi. and cxxxvii. by the Talmudi Gold. These works are still extant among the Arabic manuscripts precal writers they are terned orphan psalms. The untitled psalms in our served in the library of the Escurial. (Casiri, Bibliotheca Arabico-EscuEnglish version amount to thirty-seven; but many of these are Hallelujah rialensis, tom. ii. p. 72.) The Gulis-tan, Bed of Roses, or Flower Garden psalms, which have lost their inscriptions, because the venerable transla- of the Persian poet Sady, has been translated into English by Mr. Gladtors have rendered the Ilebrew word Ilallelujah by the expression "Praise win; and the Bahar Danush, or Garden of Knowledge of the Persian the Lord," which they have made a part of tie psalm, though in the bard Einaut-Oollah, by Mr. Scott. Dr. A. Clarke has collected some ailseptuagint versiou i stands as a distinct
ditional instances in his Commentary on the Bible. See Psalm 1x. Title. et Explicatio Dictionum in Psalmorum Titulis obviarum, pp. xxv.--lviii.
243 the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me;' and as the titles are generally considered as names, either of musical psalmist, in the forty-second psalm, rather chose to compare instruments or of tunes. himself 'to a hari than a hind (see ver. 1.), the twenty- 1. The first of these is Neginoth, which is prefixed to second psalm much better answers this title, in which he psalms iv. vi. liv. lv. lx. lxi. lxxvić: it signifies stringed speaks of his hunted soul in the feminine gender, Deliver my instruments of music to be played on by the fingers. Calsoul from the sword, my darling (which in the original is met proposes to translate the titles of those psalms, where feminine) from the power of the dog. Every one that reflects this word is to be found, in the following manner :-Á Psalm on the circumstances of David, at the time to which the of David, to the master of music who presides over the stringed fifty-sixth psalm refers (see 1 Sam. xxi. 11-15. xxii. 1.), instruments. and considers the oriental taste, will not wonder to see that 2. Nehiloth, which is in the title of psalm v., is supposed psalm entitled the dumb in distant places ; nor are lilies more to have been a wind instrument; but whether of the organ improper to be made the title of other psalms, with proper kind as Rosenmüller thinks, or of the flute kind as Calmet distinctions, than a garden of anemonies is to be the name of supposes, it is now impossible to determine. a collection of moral discourses.2
3. Sheminith (Psalms vi. and xii.) is supposed to have Besides the psalms, whose titles have thus been consider- been an octochord, or harp of eight strings; from the circumed and explained, there are forty-five called Mismor or psalms ; stance of its being united with the Neginoth in the title of viz. iii. iv. v. vi. viii. ix. xii. xiii. xv. xix. xx. xxi. xxii. Psalm vi., it is supposed to have been an accompaniment to xxiii. xxiv. xxix. xxxi. xxxvii. xxxix. xl. xli. xlvii. xlix. 1. the latter instrument. li. lxii. Ixiii. lxiv. lxxiii. lxxv. lxxvii. lxxix. lxxx. lxxxii. 4. Shiggaion (Psalm vii.), according to Houbigant, ParkIxxxiv. lxxxv. xcviii.c.ci. cix. cx. cxxxix. cxl. cxli. and cxlii. hurst, and some others, means a wandering song; and is so One is called Shir, or song (Psal. xlvi.); seven are called called, because it was composed by David when a fugitive Mismor-Shir, or psalm-songs, viz. xxxi. lxv. Ixvii. Ixviii. from the persecution of Saul. But Calmet says, that it siglxxv. Ixxvii. and cxii.; and five are called Shir-Mismor, or nifies a song of consolation in distress, synonymous with an cong-psalms, xlviii. Ixvi. Ixxxiii. lxxxviii. and cviii. In what elegy; with him coincide Dr. Kennicott and Rosenmüller, respects these titles differed, it is now impossible to ascer- who derive the word from an Arabic root, importing that the tain, as Rabbi Kimchi, one of the most learned Jews, inge, inspired writer of this psalm was overwhelmed with sorrow nuously acknowledges; but we may infer that they combined and anxiety at the time he composed it. both music and singing, which are indicated by the respect- 5. Gittiih (Psalms viii. lxxxi. lxxxiv.), according to Rabbi ive words psalm and song, with some modifications. In the Jarchi, signifies a musical instrument brought from Gath : Septuagint version these are called a psalm of an ode, and an but as the criginal Hebrew denotes wine-presses, Calmet ode of a psalm. Four are called Theophilah, or prayers, thinks that it probably is an air or song which was sung at namely, xvii. lxxxvi. xc. and cii.; and the hundred and the time of vintage. Rosenmäller prefers the former derivaforty-fifth psalm is called Tehillah, or praise. So excellent, tion: both, however, may be true. The instrument bearing indeed, was this composition always accounted, that the title this name might have been used by the people of Gath, from of the whole Book of Psalms, Sepher Tehillim, or the Book whom it might have been adopted by the Jews, with whom of Praises, was taken from it. It is wholly filled with the it afterwards became a favourite instrument during the fespraises of God, expressed with such admirable devotion that tivity and dances of the vintage. the ancient Jews used to say,“ He could not fail of being an 6. For Muthlabben, which appears in the title of Psalm ix., inhabitant of the heavenly Canaan, who repeated this psalm upwards of twenty manuscripts of Dr. Kennicott's collation, three times a day."
and more than forty of De Rossi's, read almuth, which signiFifteen psalms, cxx. to cxxxiv. are entitled Shir-Hamme-fies virgins. Calmet thinks that a chorus of virgins is intendchaloth, literally Songs of the Steps (in our English version, ed, and that La Ben, that is to Ben, refers to Ben or Benaiah, Songs of Degrees); or, as Bishop Lowth terms them, Odes who was their precentor, and who is mentioned in 1 Chron. of Ascension. They are supposed to have derived this name xv. 18. 20. from their being sung, when the people came up either to 7. Mahalath (Psalm liii.) denotes a dance, such as was worship in Jerusalem, at the annual festivals, or perhaps used at some peculiar festivals and occasions. (Compare from the Babylonish captivity: In Ezra vii. 9. the return Exod. xv. 20. Judg. xxi. 21. 1 Sam. xviii. 6.) Àccording from captivity is certainly called “the ascension, or coming to Calmet, the title of this ode is — " An instructive psalm up from Babylon." The hundred and twenty-sixth psalm of David for the chief master of dancing; or, for the chorus favours the latter hypothesis : but as some of these odes of singers and dancers.” Mahalath-Leannoth (Psalm lxxxix.) were composed before the captivity, the title may refer to probably means a responsive psalm of the same description. either of these occasions, when the Jews went up to Jeru- VIIL. Of the word Selah, which occurs upwards of seventy salem, which, it will be recollected, stood on a steep rocky times in the book of Psalms, and three times in the prophecy ascent, in large companies, after the oriental manner, and of Habakkuk, it is by no means easy to determine the meanperhaps beguiled their way by singing these psalms. For ing: in the Septuagint it occurs still more frequently, being such an occasion, Jahn remarks, the appellation of ascen- placed where it does not occur in the Hebrew original, and sions was singularly adapted, as the inhabitants of the East, rendered by AIAYAAMA (diapsalma), which signifies a rest when speaking of a journey to the metropolis of their coun- or pause, or, according to Suidas, a change of the song or try, delight to use the word ascend.
modulation. Some imagine that it directed the time of the To ten psalms, viz. cvi. cxi. cxii. cxiii. cxxxv. cxlvi. to music, and was perhaps equivalent to our word slow, or cl. inclusive, is prefixed the title Hallelujah, which, as according to some of our provincial dialects," slaw;" which, already intimated, forms part of the first verse in our Eng- in a rapid pronunciation might easily be taken for Selah. lish translation, and is rendered --Praise the Lord.
Dr. Wall conjectures that it is a note, directing that the last The title Maschil is prefixed to psalms xxxii. xlii. xliv. lii, words to which it is added should be repeated by the chorus; liii. liv. lv. lxxiv. lxxviii. lxxxviii. lxxxix. and cxlii.; and and observes, that it is always put after some remarkable or as it is evidently derived from the Hebrew root 550 SHAKAL, pathetic clause. Parkhurst and others are of opinion, that it to be wise, to behave wisely or prudently, Calmet thinks it was intended to direct the reader's particular attention to the merely signifies to give instruction, and that the psalms to passage: others, that it makes a new sense or change of which it is prefixed are peculiarly adapted to that purpose : the metre. Jerome says, that Selah connects what follows Rosenmüller coincides with him, as far as his remark ap- with what went before, and further expresses that the words plies to psalm xxxii., but rather thinks it a generic name for to which it is affixed are of eternal moment; that is, are not à particular kind of poem.
applicable to any particular person or temporary circumIt only remains that we briefly notice those psalms, whose stances, but ought to be remembered by all men, and for
ever: whence the Chaldee paraphrast renders it “ for ever." 1 According to Dr. Shaw, the eastern mode of hunting is, by assembling Aquila, Symmachus, Geier, Forster, Buxtorf, and others, are great nunbers of people, and enclosing the creatures they hunt. Travels of opionion that Selah has no signification but that it is a in Barbary and the Levant, 4to. p. 235. or vol. i. pp. 422, 423. 8vo. edit. 2 Harmer's Observations, vol. iii. pp. 146–149.
note of the ancient music, the use of which is now lost. 3 Bishop Patrick, in loc. And therefore he thinks it was composed Aben Ezra says, that it is like the conclusion of a prayer, alphabetically, i.e. every verse beginning with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order that it might be the more readily committed to inemory. think that it means a repeat, and that
it is equivalent to the
answering nearly to amen. Meibomius, and after him Jahn, • Introd. ad Vet. Fæd, pp. 471, 472. Calmet and Dr. T. A. Clarisse are Italian Da Capo. Calmet is of opinion that the ancient Heof opinion that the whole of the Psalms of Ascensions were sung at the time of the return from the captivity. Dissert. sur les Pseaumes quinze 6 Calmet, Commentaire Littérale, tom. iv. pp. xi.-xiv. liii. liv. Rosen. graduels. -Dissert. tom. ii. part ii. pp. 323, 324. Clarisse, Psalmi Quinde müller, Scholia in Psalmos, tom. i. cap. 4. De Psalmorum Inscriptionibus, cimn Hamnaäloth, p. 23.
brew musicians sometimes put Selah in the margin of their interpreter in our language has remarked, with equal piety psalters, to show where a musical pause was to be made, and beauty,4, “ are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the and where the tune ended; just as in the copies of the Gos- purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creapels, which were solemnly read in the early ages of the tion and formation of the world; the dispensations of ProChristian church, the Greek word Tenos, telos, or the Latin vidence, and the economy of grace; the transactions of the word finis, was written in the margin, either at length or patriarchs; the exodus of the children of Israel; their jourwith a contraction, to mark the place where the deacon was ney through the wilderness, and settlement in Canaan; their to end the lesson ; the divisions of chapters and verses being law, priesthood, and ritual, the exploits of their great men, unknown at that time; or else he thinks, the ancient Hebrews wrought through faith ; their sins and captivities; their resang nearly in the same manner as the modern Arabians do,2, pentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of with long pauses, ending all at once, and beginning all at David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon; the adonce; and therefore it was necessary, in the public services, vent of Messiah, with its effects and consequences; his into mark in the margin of the psalm as well the place of the carnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, pause as the end, in order that the whole choir might suspend kingdom, and priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit; the their voices, or recommence their singing at the same time. conversion of the nations; the rejection of the Jews, the Rosenm ller, after Herder and A. F. Pfeiffer, declares in establishment
, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian favour of Selah being a rest or pause, for the vocal perform- church; the end of the world, the general judgment; the ers, during which the musical instruments only were to be condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the heard. Mr. Hewlett thinks it resembled our concluding righteous with their Lord and King: These are the subjects symphonies. It only remains that we notice the sentiment here presented to our meditations. We are instructed how to of Rabbi Kimchi, which has been adopted by Grotius and conceive of them aright, and to express the different affecothers. That eminent Jewish teacher says, that Selah is tions, which, when so conceived of, they must excite in our both a musical note, and a note of emphasis in the sense, by minds. They are, for this purpose, adorned with the figures, which we are called to observe something more than usually and set off with all the graces, of poetry; the poetry itself remarkable. It is derived from the Hebrew word syd salal, is designed yet farther to be recommended by the charms of which signifies he raised or elevated ; and denotes the eleva- music, thus consecrated to the service of God: that so detion of the voice in singing ; and at the same time the lifting light may prepare the way for improvement, and pleasure up of the heart, the serious considering and meditating upon become the handmaid of wisdom, while every turbulent pas. the thing that is spoken.
sion is calmed by sacred melody, and the evil spirit is still That this word was of use in music and singing is evident dispossessed by the harp of the son of Jesse. "This little from the manner in which, we have already reinarked, it was volume, like the paradise of Eden, affords us in perfection, rendered by the Septuagint translators ; and that it is also a though'in miniature, every thing that groweth elsewhere, mark of observation and meditation, may be inferred from every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food : its being joined in Psal. ix. 16. with the word Higgaion, and above all, what was there lost, but is here restored—the which signifies meditation. Now, though in some passages tree of life in the midst of the garden. That which we read, Selah may appear to be used where there is no emphatic as matter of speculation, in the other Scriptures, is reduced word or sense, yet it may be applied not only to the imme- to practice, when we recite it in the Psalms; in those, rediately preceding word or verse, but also to the whole series pentance and faith are described, but in these they are acted: of verses or periods to which it is subjoined. And if it be by a perúsal of the former, we learn how others served God, thus considered, we shall find that it is used with great but, by using the latter, we serve him ourselves. •What is propriety, and for the best of purposes, viz. to point out to us there necessary for man to know,' says the pious and judisomething well worthy of our most attentive observation; cious Hooker, which the psalms are not able to teach? They and that it calls upon us to revolve in our minds, with great are to beginners an easy and familiar introduction, a mighty seriousness, the matter placed before us.3
augmentation of all virtue and knowledge in such as are IX. "The hearts of the pious in all ages have felt the entered before, a strong confirmation to the most perfect value of the Psalms as helps to devotion; and many have among others. Heroical magnanimity, exquisite justice, laboured for expressions, in which to set forth their praise." grave moderation, exact wisdom, repentance unfeigned, unAll the fathers of the church are unanimously eloquent in wearied patience, the mysteries of God, the sufferings of their commendation of the Psalms. Athanasius styles them Christ, the terrors of wrath, the comforts of grace, the an epitome of the whole Scriptures : Basil, a compendium works of Providence over this world, and the promised joys of all theology; Luther, a little Bible,
and the summary of of that world which is to come, all good necessarily to be the Old Testament; and Melancthon, the most elegant writ- either known, or done, or had, this one celestial fountain ing in the whole world. How highly the Psalter was yieldeth. Let there be any grief or disease incident unto valued subsequently to the Reformation, we may, easily the soul of man, any wound or sickness named, for which conceive by the very numerous editions of it which were there is not, in this treasure-house, a present comfortable executed in the infancy of printing, and by the number of remedy at all times ready to be found.'5 'In the language of commentators who have undertaken to illustrate its sacred this divine book, therefore, the prayers and praises of the pages. Carpzov, who wrote a century ago, enumerates up. church have been offered up to the throne of grace, from age wards of one hundred and sixty; and of the subsequent to age. And it appears to have been the manual of the Son modern expositors of this book it would perhaps be difficult of God, in the days of his flesh ; who, at the conclusion of to procure a correct account. “ The Psalms,” as their best his last supper, is generally supposed, and that upon good
grounds, to have sung a hymn taken from it ;6 who pro1 Simon, Histoire Critique du Nouv. Test. ch. xxxiii. D'Arvieux's Travels in Arabia the Desert, p. 52. English translation, psalm, « My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'
nounced, on the cross, the beginning of the twenty-second 1718. 12mo.
· Calmet, Dissertation sur Sela, Commentaire, tom. iv. pp. xvi.--xviii. and expired with a part of the thirty-first psalm in his Hewlett in loc. Roseninüller, Scholia in Psalmos, tom. i. pp: lix-xii. Dr. mouth, * Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' Thus He, John Edwards, on the Authority, Style, and Perfection of Scripture, vol. iii. p. 373. Jahn, Introd, ad Vet. Fæd. p. 471. Biel and Schleusner, Lexi / who had not the Spirit by measure, in whom were hidden con in Lxx. voce Asztan. Mein. In addition to the observation already all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and who spake offered, it may be stated that Professor Wilson has announced the follow
as never man spake, yet chose to conclude his life, to solace ing ingenious conjectare respecting the derivation and import of the word Selah : –The roet of the word, he remarks, appears evidently to lie in the himself in his greatest agony, and at last to breathe out his two first letters which are in contraction for 550. to raise, to eralt, soul, in the psalmist's form of words, rather than his own. to magnify. The he considers as an abbreviation for 709; so that the No tongue of man or angel, as Dr. Hammond justly obword ayo (selam) is a contracted form of uso, celebrate ye Jehovah, or serves, can convey a higher idea of any book, and of their esult the Lord, viz. in songs of praise accompanied with musical instru- felicity who use it aright." ments, and is nearly of the same import with 7741860, in our characters The number of psalms, which are throughout more emiHallelujah, in Greek letters 'AXA RAOUIx, that is, Praise ye the Lord. This nently and directly prophetical of the Messiah, is indeed verse of Psalm lxviii.
which is thus translated, Ertal him that rideth upon comparatively small: but the passages of particular psalms the heavens by the name Jan. It is highly probable that the meaning here which are predictive of him in various ways are very numeassigned to Sela h is the true one, as it corresponds to the dignity and chief end of devotional music, in which the singers
and players were frequently • The late Bishop Horne. reminded of the sacred intention of their solemn prayers, praises, and • Hooker, Ecclesiast. Pol. book v. sect. 37. adoration. All were designed to magnify the name, the nature, the per 6 Matthew informs us, chap. xxvi. 30. that he and his apostles sung an fections, excellences, and works of Jehovah the only true God. In this hymn; and the hymn usually song by the Jews, upon that occasion, was sublime exercise the church on earth are fellow-worshippers, in perfect what they called the great Hallel,” consisting of the Psalms from the concord with the church in heaven. See Rev. xix. 1-3. (Wilson's Ele- cxijith to the cxviiith inclusive. meats of Hebrew Grammar, pp. 315, 316. 4th edit.)
+ Bishop Horne on the Psalms, vol. i. Pre face, pp. i.-iv.
rous, no part of the Old Testament being cited in the New XI. We shall conclude this section, the importance of so frequently as this book. That those psalms which were whose subject must apologize for its apparently disproportioncomposed by David himself were prophetic, we have David's ate length, with the following common but very useful own authority: “which,” Bishop Horsley remarks, “may
TABLE OF THE PSALMS, be allowed to overpower a host of modern expositors: For classed according to their several subjects, and adapted to tho thus King David, at the close of his life, describes himself and his sacred songs : David the son of Jesse said, and the purposes of private devotion. man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of
2. Prayers, composed when the Psalmist was deprived of an oppor. rit which was uttered by David's tongue. But, it should tugite of the public exercise of religion, Psal. xlii. xliii
. lxxxiv. seem, the Spirit of Jehovah would not be wanting to enable totally deprived of consolation, under his afflictions, Psal. xiii. xxii. lxix. a mere man to make complaint of his own enemies, to describe lxxvii. lxxxviii. cxliii.
4. Prayers, in which the Psalmist asks help of God, in consideration of his own sufferings just as he felt them, and his own escapes his own integrity, and the uprightness of his cause, Psal. vii. xvii. xxvi.
just as they happened. But the Spirit of Jehovah described, xxxv. by David's utterance, what was known to that Spirit only,
5. Prayers, expressing the firmest trust and confidence in God under and that Spirit only could describe. So that, if David be afflictions, Psal. ii. xvi. xxvii. xxxi. liv. Ivi. Ivii. Ixi. Ixii. Ixxi. lxxxvi allowed to have had any knowledge of the true subject of persecution, Psal. xliv. Ix. Ixxiv. lxxix. lxxx. Ixxxiii. lxxxix. xciv. cii. his own compositions, it was nothing in his own life, but cxxiii. cxxxvii. something put into his mind by the Holy Spirit of God, and Psal
. iv. v. xi. xxvili. xli. Iv. lix lxiv. Ixx. cix. cxx. cxl. cxli. cxliii.
7. The following are likewise prayers in time of trouble and affiction, the misapplication of the Psalms to the literal David has 8. Prayers of intercession, Psal. xx. Ixvii. cxxii. cxxxii. cxliv. done more mischief than the misapplication of any other
II. Psalms of Thanksgiving. parts of the Scriptures, among those who profess the belief 1. Thanksgivings for mercies vouchsafed to particular persons, Psal. ix. of the Christian religion.”
xviii. xxij. xxx. xxxiv. xl. lxxv. ciii. cviii. cxvi. cxviji. cxxxviii. cxliv. For a table of those portions of the Psalms which are Psal. xlvi. xvii. lxv. Ixvi. Ixviii. Ixvi. Ixxxi. lxxxv. xcvii. cv. cxxiv. cxxvi.
2. for to , strictly prophetical of the Messiah, see Vol. 1. Part I. Chap. cxxix. cxxxv. cxxxvi. cxlix. iv. Sect. II. S 1.
III. Psalms of Praise and Adoration, displaying the AttriX. The book of Psalms being composed in Hebrew verse,
butes of God. must generally be studied and investigated agreeably to the
1. General acknowledgments of God's goodness and mercy, and par. structure of Hebrew poetry; but in addition to the remarks ticularly his care and protection of good men, Psal. xxiii. xxiv. xxxvi. xci. already offered on this subject,2 there are a few observations c. ciii. cvii. cxvii. cxxi. cxlv. cxlvi. more particularly applicable to these songs of Sion, which the Divine Being, Psal. vii. xix. xxiv. xxix. xxxii
. xlvii. 1 lxv. Ixvi. lxxvi. will enable the reader to enter more fully into their force and lxxvii
. xciii. xcv. xcvi. xcvii. xcix. civ. cxi. cxiii. cxiv. cxv. cxxxiv. cxxxix meaning.
cxlvii. cxlviii. cl. 1. Investigate the Argument of each Psalm.
IV. Instructive Psalms. This is sometimes intimated in the prefixed title: but as these inscrip- 1. The different characters of good and bad men,--the happiness of the tions are not always genuine, it will be preferable, in every case, to deduce one, and the misery of the other,-are represented in the following the argument from a diligent and attentive reading of the psalm itself, and psalms :-: v. vii. ix. x. xi. xii. xiv. xv. xvii. xxiv. xxv. xxxii. xxxiv. xxxvi. then to form our opinion concerning the correctness of the title, if there xxxvii
. 1. lii. liii. Iviii. lxxii. lxxv. Ixxxiv. xci. xcii. xciv.cxii. cxix. cxvi. CXXV. be any.
cxxvii. cxxviii. cxxxiii.
2. The excellence of God's laws, Psal. xix. cxix. 2. With this view, examine the Historical Origin of the 3. The vanity of hunan life, Psal. xxxix. xlix. xc. Psalm, or the circumstances that led the sacred poet to com- 4. Advice to magistrates, Psal. Ixxxii.ci. pose it.
5. The virtue of humility, Psal. cxxxi. Besides investigating the occasion upon which a psalm was written,
V. Psalms more eminently and directly Prophetical. much advantage and assistance inay be derived from studying the psalms Psal. ii. xvi. xxii. xl. xlv. Ixviii. lxxii. Ixxxvii. cx. cxviii. chronologically, and comparing them with the historical books of the Old
VI. Historical Psalms. Testament, particularly those which treat of the Israelites and Jews, from the origin of their monarchy to their return from the Babylonish captivity: Psal. Ixxviii. cv. cvi. of the benefit that may be obtained from such a comparison of the two books of Samuel, we have already given soine striking examples.3
3. Ascertain the Author of the Psalm. This is frequently intimated in the inscriptions; but as these are not always to be depended upon, we must look for other more certain criteria
SECTION III. by which to ascertain correctly the real author of any psalnı. The historical circumstances, which are very frequently as well as clearly indicated,
ON THE BOOK OF PROVERBS. and the poetical character impressed on the compositions of each of the inspired poets, will enable us to accomplish this very important object. I. Title, author, and canonical authority.-II. Scope.-IIÍ. Let us take, for instance, the Psalms of David. Not only does he allude to his own personal circumstances, to the dangers to which he was ex
Synopsis of its contents.-IV. Observations on its style, posed, the persecutions he endured, the wars in which he was engaged, use, and importance. his heinous sin against God, and the signal blessings conferred upon him; but his psalms are further stamped with a peculiar character, by which, I. The book of Proverbss has always been ascribed to if it be carefully attended to, we may easily distinguish him froin every Solomon, whose name it bears, though, from the frequent same words and ideas almost perpetually ; complaining of his afflictions repetition of the same sentences, as well as from some variand troubles; imploring help from God in the most earnest supplications; ations in style which have been discovered, doubts have been professing his confidence in God in the strongest manner; rejoicing in the entertained whether he really was the author of every maxim his gratitude for all the blessings conferred upon him. Again, in what it comprises.., " The latter part of it
, from the beginning of tuary of God,
and join with the multitude of those who kept holyday! collected after his death, and added to what appears to have ardent language does he express his longing desire to behold the sanc- the twenty-fifth chapter, forming evidently an appendix, was With what animation does he describe the solemn pomp with which the been more immediately arranged by himself."$ The proverbs
is the inost pleasing and tender.
in the thirtieth chapter are expressly called The words of The style of David has been imitated by the other psalmists, who have Agur the son of Jakeh; and the thirty-first chapter is entitled borrowed and incorporated many of his expressions and images in their The words of king Lemuel. It seems certain that the collection type, by the absence of that elegance and force which always characterize called the Proverbs of SOLOMON
was arranged in the order the productions of an original author.
in which we now have it by different hands; but it is not 4. Attend to the Structure of the Psalms.
therefore to be concluded that they are not the productions The Psalms, being principally designed for the national worship of the of Solomon, who, we are informed, spoke no less than three Jews, are adapted to choral singing; attention, therefore, to the choral thousand proverbs. (1 Kings iv. 32.) As it is nowhere said spirit and meaning. Dr. Good has happily succeeded in showing the that Solomon himself made a collection of proverbs and choral divisions of many of these sacred poems, in his version of the Psalms.
s On the peculiar nature of the Hebrew Proverbs, see Vol. I. Part II.
Chapter 1. Section VI. 1 Bishop Horsley's Psalms, vol. i. p. xiv. Calmet has a very fine pas- 6 Extract from Dr. Mason Good's unpublished translation of the Book sage on the scope of the book of Psalms, as pointing to the Messiah ; it is of Proverbs, in Prof. Gregory's Memoirs of his Life, p. 289. too long to cite, and would be impaired by abridgment. See his Commen. It is not said that these proverbs were written conipositions, but sim. taire, vol. vi. pp. vi. viii., or Dissertations, tom. ii. pp. 197—199.
ply that Solomon spake them. Hence Mr. Holden thinks it not improbable - See Vol. 1. Part II. Chap. II. VIII.
that the Hebrew monarch spoke them in assemblies collected for the par. * See p. 220. of this voluine.
pose of hearing him discourse. Attempt to Illustrate the Book of Eccle • Bauer, Herm. Sacr. pp. 392–394.
siastes, p. xliv.
ark was conducted to Jerusalem! &c.