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Psalm 67 by Alexander Maclaren

Psalm 67 by Alexander Maclaren

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

PSALM LXVII

1 God be gracious to us, and bless us,

And cause His face to shine among us; Selab

PSALM LXVII

1 God be gracious to us, and bless us,

And cause His face to shine among us; Selab

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 20, 2013
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09/20/2013

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PSALM 67 BY ALEXADER MACLAREPSALM LXVII1 God be gracious to us, and bless us,And cause His face to shine among us; Selab*2 That Thy way may be known upon earth,Thy salvation among all nations.3 Let peoples give Thee thanks, O God,Let peoples, all of them, give Thee thanks.4 Let tribes rejoice and shout aloud,For Thou wilt judge peoples in equity,And tribes on the earth wilt Thou lead. Selah,5 Let peoples give Thee thanks, O God,Let peoples, all of them, give Thee thanks.6 The earth has yielded her increase :May God, [even] our God, bless us I7 May God bless us,And may all the ends of the earth fear Him ?THIS little psalm condenses the dominant thoughtof the two preceding into a series of aspirationsafter Israel's blessing, and the consequent diffusion of the knowledge of God's way among all lands. LikePsalm lxv., it sees in abundant harvests a type andwitness of God's kindness. But, whereas in Psalm lxv.the fields were covered with corn, here the increase hasbeen gathered in. The two psalms may or may not beconnected in date of composition as closely as these
 
two stages of one harvest-time.The structure of the psalm has been variously con-ceived Clearly the Selahs do not guide as to divisionsin the flow of thought. But it may be noted that the264IxnL] THE PSALMS a&iseven verses in the psalm have each two clauses, withthe exception of the middle one (ver. 4), which hasthree. Its place and its abnormal length mark it as thecore, round which, as it were, the whole is built up.Further, it is as if encased in two verses (w. 3, 5),which, in their four clauses, are a fourfold repetitionof a single aspiration. These three verses are theheart of the psalm — the desire that all the earth maypraise God, whose providence blesses it all. They areagain enclosed in two strophes of two verses each(w. I, 2, and 6, 7), which, like the closer wrappinground the core, are substantially parallel, and, unlikeit, regard God's manifestation to Israel as His greatwitness to the world. Thus, working outwards fromthe central verse, we have symmetry of structure, andintelligible progress and distinctness of thought.Another point of difficulty is the rendering of theseries of verbs in the psalm. Commentators areunanimous in taking those of ver. 1 as expressions of desire ; but they bewilderingly diverge in their treat-ment of the following ones. Details of the divergentinterpretations, or discussions of their reasons, cannotbe entered on here. It may be sufficient to say thatthe adherence throughout to the optative rendering,admitted by all in ver. 1, gives a consistent colouringto the whole. It is arbitrary to vary the renderings inso short a psalm. But, as is often the case, the aspira-
 
tions are so sure of their correspondence with theDivine purpose that they tremble on the verge of beingprophecies, as, indeed, all wishes that go out along theline of God's "way" are. Every deep, God-inspiredlonging whispers to its utterer assurance that so itshall be ; and therefore such desires have ever in theman element of fruition, and know nothing of the pain266 THE PSALMSof earthly wishes. They who stretch out empty handsto God never " gather dust and chaff."The priestly blessing (umb. vi. 24-26) moulds ver. 1,but with the substitution of God for Jehovah, and of " among us " for " upon us." The latter variation givesan impression of closer contact of men with the lustre of that Divine Light, and of yet greater condescension inGod. The soul's longing is not satisfied by even thefullest beams of a Light that is fixed on high ; it daresto wish for the stooping of the Sun to dwell among us.The singer speaks in the name of the nation ; and, byusing the priestly formula, claims for the whole peoplethe sacerdotal dignity which belonged to it by itsoriginal constitution. He gives that idea its widestextension. Israel is the world's high priest, lifting upintercessions and holy hands of benediction for mankind.What self-effacement, and what profound insight intoand sympathy with the mind of God breathe in thatcollocation of desires, in which the gracious lustre of God's face shining on us is longed for, chiefly thatthence it may be reflected into the dark places of earth,to gladden sad and seeking eyes 1 This psalmist didnot know in how true a sense the Light would cometo dwell among men of Israel's race, and thence toflood the world ; but his yearning is a foreshadowing of 

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