The first five verses of this psalm are taken from Ps. 57:7-11 and the remainder from Ps. 60:5-12.
- Verses 1-5. What moves the psalmist to such determined praise? How do these verses show us the way to appreciate and worship God, and to include praise as a vital part of our prayer?
- Verses 6-13. In the agony of wondering whether God is helping them any longer, how does the psalmist anchor his faith? Cf. Heb. 6:17; 10:23; 13:5, 6.
Note. Verses 7-9. The promise God gave in the temple enforces his sovereign claim over these territories. The mention of Shechem and Succoth emphasizes God’s claim over both sides of Jordan (cf. Gen. 33:17, 18). Ephraim and Judah, paired, bind north and south. (For the scepter see the promise of Gen. 49:10.) Moab, Edom and Philistia are traditional enemies and hostile neighbors of Israel. A campaign against Edom seems to be in mind (verse 10).
This psalm falls into three parts. Verses 1-5 are a prayer to God for deliverance from persecuting opponents. Retribution is then invoked by the psalmist (verses 6-20) upon the leader of his enemies and all that belongs to him. In the third section (verses 21-31) there is a return to prayer, culminating in thanksgiving and faith.
- Verses 1-5. How does the writer show that he has a good conscience, and is not being opposed because of his own offensiveness or evil deeds? Compare Jesus’ attitude in parallel circumstances (Luke 23:32-43; cf. also 1Pet. 4:12-19).
- Verses 21-31. Instead of himself taking revenge, the psalmist takes refuge in prayer. Study the attitude of prayer in these circumstances.
Note. Verses 6-20. The retribution invoked includes the man himself, his person and office, his wife and children, his property, and also his prosperity. The place and significance of the imprecatory psalms (of which this is one), as part of the fullness of revealed truth, belong to the general subject of the progress of revelation. It is to be remembered that in pre-Christian days New Testament standards were not yet revealed. Old Testament believers lived in a dispensation in which retribution was a fundamental principle. Their very faith in a God of righteousness, who would reward the righteous and condemn the wicked, encouraged them to pray for his blessing upon themselves and for his vengeance upon their persecutors; and in this they had scriptural support (e.g., Lev. 24:19; prov. 17:13). Retribution was therefore praying as part of the practical vindication of God’s actual and righteous sovereignty. Note here that psalmist does not take vengeance himself, but leaves it to God. The New Testament teaches us also to love and pray for those that despitefully use us (Matt. 5:43-45; Rom. 12:19-21).
This psalm speaks of the enthronement of a king (cf. Ps. 2), and of God’s proclamation to that king. At morning time (verse 3b) – symbolizing the newness of the era about to begin- a solemn procession (verses 3, 7) moves by way of the spring (verse 7; cf. 1 Kgs. 1:33, 34, 45; 2 Chr. 32:30) to the coronation in the holy city. There the king, as God’s representative, begins his reign.
- In detail, what hopes are expressed for this new epoch, with reference to (a) the rule of the king, and (b) the response from the people? Jesus applies this psalm to himself in Mark 12:35-37. How then is all this realized in his Messianic kingship over us and the world?
- Study the use of this psalm in the New Testament. No Old Testament verse is cited more often in the New Testament than Ps. 110:1. Cf. Mark 14:62; 1 Cor.15:25 ff.; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:13; 10:12, 13. Of what are we thereby assured?
- The promised king is also to be a priest but not an Aaronic one. How does the writer to the Hebrews expound verse 4? Cf. Gen. 14:17-24; Heb. 5:7-11; 6:20-7:28.
Psalm 111 & 112
- 111. What does the study of God’s works reveal about him to those who make it their delight to examine them? What response to God should follow?
- 112. What social and ethical obligations are laid on the man who wants to please God? Cf. Mic. 3:1-4, Jer.22:1-4, 16; Mark 10:21. What blessings can such a man look for from God, in his own life and in his family’s?
Psalm 113 & 114
Pss. 113-118 are psalms of redemption, the Hallel or hymn of praise that was sung at Jewish festivals in the time of Jesus. Looking back on God’s past acts of redemption, particularly in the exodus, the people were encouraged to believe God would act in that way again. Jesus and his disciples may have sung these psalms at Passover as he himself preparation for his act of redeeming us. (Cf. Mark 14:26.)
- 113. What activities are said here to be characteristic of God? Cf. Luke 1:46-55. What kind of response, in terms of both time and place, should their acknowledgment secure from men?
- 114. What features of the Israelites’ Journey from Egypt to Canaan are referred to? Cf. Exod. 14:21; 22; 17:5, 6; 19:18; 33:14; Num. 20:11; Josh. 3:14-17. To what truths were these events a permanent witness?