71:16. And there shall be a firmament on the earth on the tops of mountains, above Libanus shall the fruit thereof be exalted: and they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth.
A firmament on the earth, etc... This may be understood of the church of Christ, ever firm and visible: and of the flourishing condition of its congregation.
71:17. Let his name be blessed for evermore: his name continueth before the sun. And in him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed: all nations shall magnify him.
71:18. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone doth wonderful things.
71:19. And blessed be the name of his majesty for ever: and the whole earth shall be filled with his majesty. So be it. So be it.
71:20. The praises of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.
Are ended... By this it appears that this psalm, though placed here, was in order of time the last of those which David composed.
Psalms Chapter 72
Quam bonus Israel Deus.
The temptation of the weak, upon seeing the prosperity of the wicked, is overcome by the consideration of the justice of God, who will quickly render to every one according to his works.
72:1. A psalm for Asaph. How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart!
72:2. But my feet were almost moved; my steps had well nigh slipped.
72:3. Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners.
72:4. For there is no regard to their death, nor is there strength in their stripes.
72:5. They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men.
72:6. Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness.
72:7. Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart.
Fatness... Abundance and temporal prosperity, which hath encouraged them in their iniquity: and made them give themselves up to their irregular affections.
72:8. They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high.
72:9. They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth.
72:10. Therefore will my people return here and full days shall be found in them.
Return here... or hither. The weak among the servants of God, will be apt often to return to this thought, and will be shocked when they consider the full days, that is, the long and prosperous life of the wicked; and will be tempted to make the reflections against providence which are set down in the following verses.
72:11. And they said: How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
72:12. Behold these are sinners; and yet, abounding in the world they have obtained riches.
72:13. And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent.
72:14. And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath been in the mornings.
72:15. If I said: I will speak thus; behold I should condemn the generation of thy children.
If I said, etc... That is, if I should indulge such thoughts as these.
72:16. I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight:
72:17. Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends.
72:18. But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down.
Thou hast put it to them... In punishment of their deceits, or for deceiving them, thou hast brought evils upon them in their last end, which, in their prosperity they never apprehended.
72:19. How are they brought to desolation? they have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity.
72:20. As the dream of them that awake, O Lord; so in thy city thou shalt bring their image to nothing.
72:21. For my heart hath been inflamed, and my reins have been changed:
72:22. And I am brought to nothing, and I knew not.
72:23. I am become as a beast before thee: and I am always with thee.
72:24. Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me.
72:25. For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?
72:26. For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
72:27. For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee.
72:28. But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God: That I may declare all thy praises, in the gates of the daughter of Sion.
Psalms Chapter 73
Ut quid, Deus.
A prayer of the church under grievous persecutions.
73:1. Understanding for Asaph. O God, why hast thou cast us off unto the end: why is thy wrath enkindled against the sheep of thy pasture?
73:2. Remember thy congregation, which thou hast possessed from the beginning. The sceptre of thy inheritance which thou hast redeemed: mount Sion in which thou hast dwelt.
73:3. Lift up thy hands against their pride unto the end; see what things the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary.
73:4. And they that hate thee have made their boasts, in the midst of thy solemnity. They have set up their ensigns for signs,
Their ensigns, etc... They have fixed their colours for signs and trophies, both on the gates, and on the highest top of the temple: and they knew not, that is, they regarded not the sanctity of the place.