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The psalmist praises God for present mercies, Psalm 75:1; the Lord answers, and promises to judge the people righteously, Psalm 75:2, Psalm 75:3; rebukes the proud and haughty, Psalm 75:4, Psalm 75:5; shows that all authority comes from himself, Psalm 75:4-7; that he will punish the wicked, Psalm 75:8; the psalmist resolves to praise God, Psalm 75:9; and the Most High promises to cast down the wicked, and raise up the righteous, Psalm 75:9, Psalm 75:10.
The title is, “To the chief Musician, or conqueror, Al-taschith, destroy not, A Psalm or Song of Asaph.” See this title Al-taschith explained Psalm 57:1-11: The Chaldee supposes that this Psalm was composed at the time of the pestilence, when David prayed the Lord not to destroy the people. Some of the Jews suppose that Al-taschith is the beginning of a Psalm, to the air of which this Psalm was to be set and sung. The Psalm seems to have been composed during the captivity; and appears to be a continuation of the subject in the preceding.
Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks - Thou canst not forget thy people. The numerous manifestations of thy providence and mercy show that thou art not far off, but near: this
Thy wondrous works declare - These words would make a proper conclusion to the preceding Psalm, which seems to end very abruptly. The second verse is the commencement of the Divine answer to the prayer of Asaph.
When I shall receive the congregation - When the proper time is come that the congregation, my people of Israel, should be brought out of captivity, and received back into favor, I shall not only enlarge them, but punish their enemies. They shall be cut off and cast out, and become a more miserable people than those whom they now insult. I will destroy them as a nation, so that they shall never more be numbered among the empires of the earth.
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved - They all depend on me; and whenever I withdraw the power by which they exist and live, they are immediately dissolved.
I bear up the pillars of it - By the word of my power all things are upheld, and without me nothing can subsist. Those who consider this Psalm to have been written by David before he was anointed king over All Israel, understand the words thus: “All is at present in a state of confusion; violence and injustice reign: but when ‹I shall receive the whole congregation,‘ when all the tribes shall acknowledge me as king, I will reorganize the whole constitution. It is true that the land and all its inhabitants are dissolved - unsettled and unconnected by the bands of civil interest. The whole system is disorganized: ‹I bear up the pillars of it;‘ the expectation of the chief people is placed upon me; and it is the hope they have of my coming speedily to the throne of all Israel that prevents them from breaking out into actual rebellion.”
I said unto the fools - I have given the idolatrous Chaldeans sufficient warning to abandon their idols, and worship the true God; but they would not. I have also charged the wicked, to whom for a season I have delivered you because of your transgressions, not to lift up their horn - not to use their power to oppress and destroy. They have, notwithstanding, abused their power in the persecutions with which they have afflicted you. For all these things they shall shortly be brought to an awful account. On the term horn, see the note on Luke 1:69.
Speak not with a stiff neck - Mr. Bruce has observed that the Abyssinian kings have a horn on their diadem; and that the keeping it erect, or in a projecting form, makes them appear as if they had a stiff neck; and refers to this passage for the antiquity of the usage, and the appearance also.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, etc. - As if the Lord had said, speaking to the Babylonians, None of all the surrounding powers shall be able to help you; none shall pluck you out of my hand. I am the Judge: I will pull you down, and set my afflicted people up, Psalm 75:7.
Calmet has observed that the Babylonians had Media, Armenia, and Mesopotamia on the East; and thence came Darius the Mede: that it had Arabia, Phoenicia, and Egypt on the West; thence came Cyrus, who overthrew the empire of the Chaldeans. And by the mountains of the desert, מדבר הרים (midbar harim), which we translate South, Persia, may be meant; which government was established on the ruins of the Babylonish empire. No help came from any of those powers to the sinful Babylonians; they were obliged to drink the cup of the red wine of God‘s judgment, even to the very dregs. They were to receive no other punishment; this one was to annihilate them as a people for ever.
It is full of mixture - Alluding to that mingled potion of stupefying drugs given to criminals to drink previously to their execution. See a parallel passage to this, Jeremiah 25:15-26.
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob - These are the words of the psalmist, who magnifies the Lord for the promise of deliverance from their enemies.
All the horns of the wicked - All their power and influence, will I cut off; and will exalt and extend the power of the righteous. The psalmist is said to do these things, because he is as the mouth of God to denounce them. All was punctually fulfilled: the wicked - the Babylonians, were all cut off; the righteous - the Jews, called so from the holy covenant, which required righteousness, were delivered and exalted.