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Go to Bible: Psalms 68
 
Psa 68:1

“hate.” This is the expansive use of the word “hate.” It means “hate,” but it also includes the idea of those who ignore God or have other gods who they think are more important than Yahweh (cp. commentary on Prov. 1:22, “hate”).

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Psa 68:2(top)
Psa 68:3(top)
Psa 68:4(top)
Psa 68:5(top)
Psa 68:6

“God causes the lonely to live in a household.” The word “household” (or “house”) implies a family. There were no “one person houses” in the biblical world like there are today, that have just one person living alone. In the biblical world families were generally large and lived together and elderly people did not become “empty nesters,” they were part of the extended family of someone else. Loneliness is a horrible thing, and thankfully at some point in the future all loneliness will come to an end.

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Psa 68:7(top)
Psa 68:8(top)
Psa 68:9(top)
Psa 68:10(top)
Psa 68:11(top)
Psa 68:12(top)
Psa 68:13(top)
Psa 68:14

“Shaddai.” One of the titles of God; Shaddai means “Almighty.”

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Psa 68:15

“A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan.” Although Bashan is hilly, the prominent mountain in Bashan is Mount Hermon, which rises over 10,000 feet and is actually a range with many peaks. The snow never melts on the highest peaks of Hermon. For it to be envious of Mount Zion, which is roughly only 2,500 feet high, shows that there is something special about Mount Zion, and indeed there is! God Himself dwells on Mount Zion in His temple there.

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Psa 68:16(top)
Psa 68:17(top)
Psa 68:18

“You have ascended on high.” Psalm 68:18 is quoted in a modified form by Paul in Ephesians 4:8. Here, the ascending on high refers to the ark of God (and thus God Himself who goes where the ark goes) ascending the hill of Mount Zion and dwelling there, which He did early on in David’s reign over Jerusalem when David pitched a tent in Jerusalem for the Ark of the Covenant and for Yahweh to dwell in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:15-17; 1 Chron. 16:1).

Psalm 68 is a psalm of triumph. Yahweh (referred to in its shorter form, Yah, in Psalm 68:4, 18) brings the people (the “prisoners”) out of Egypt and into the land of Israel (Ps. 68:6). He led them through the wilderness (Ps. 68:7). Yahweh was the God at Mount Sinai (Ps. 68:8, 17), and he scattered enemy kings in His advance into the land (Ps. 68:14). The mountains of Bashan, the area east and northeast of the Sea of Galilee, looked on Mount Zion with envy because God chose to dwell on Mount Zion (Ps. 68:15-16). The ark was brought into Jerusalem and onto Mount Zion with music and singing (Ps. 68:24-25; cp. 2 Sam. 6:14-15; 1 Chron. 15:25-28). The Temple is at Jerusalem (Ps. 68:29). At the time of David it was a tent, but due to the worship there it could be referred to as a temple. People and foreigners will bring gifts to Jerusalem (Ps. 68:29, 31).

In Ephesians 4:8, Paul takes this psalm of triumph about God ascending to Mount Zion and establishing His Temple there and receiving gifts from people, and modifies it to the triumph of Christ ascending into heaven and giving gifts to people. The modification and the contrast between Psalm 68:18 and Ephesians 4:8 highlight the fact that God reigned over Israel and the people of earth from the earth, in Jerusalem and was honored there, while Christ reigns from heaven over his heavenly people, the Church, and gives gifts to them so they are equipped to help him with his work on earth of reconciling people to God.

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Psa 68:19(top)
Psa 68:20(top)
Psa 68:21(top)
Psa 68:22(top)
Psa 68:23(top)
Psa 68:24(top)
Psa 68:25(top)
Psa 68:26(top)
Psa 68:27

“There is Benjamin, the youngest, ruling them.” The Temple of God was on Mount Zion, which is in the tribal territory of Benjamin. So God lives in Benjamin, even though he was the youngest son of Jacob.

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Psa 68:28(top)
Psa 68:29(top)
Psa 68:30(top)
Psa 68:31

“quickly lift up her hands to God with tribute.” The Hebrew is more literally, “Ethiopia will cause her hands to run,” that is, run to give tribute to God, which comes from the culture and the context. Someone giving tribute to a ruler would usually kneel or bow low before them and stretch out their hands to present the tribute or gift. “Ethiopia” here is presented in the figure of speech personification. This is not a metonymy, with “Ethiopia” being put for the people of Ethiopia because the pronoun is singular. [For more on the figure personification, see commentary on Prov. 1:20, “Wisdom”].

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Psa 68:32(top)
Psa 68:33(top)
Psa 68:34

“yes, his strength is in the clouds.” After just saying that God’s majesty is over Israel, saying that His strength is in the clouds means that God’s strength covers the earth and sky; it has no bounds. God rules over the earth and rides on the heaven of heavens (Ps. 68:33). This is also a challenge to the various sky-gods such as Baal the storm god of Canaan, because it is Yahweh who is strong on both earth and sky, not gods like Baal.

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Psa 68:35(top)
  

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