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Psalm Eighty Nine

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite.

Maschil. This psalm is the last of the thirteen or fourteen Maschil psalms. Written by Ethan, (apparently the brother of Heman—1 Kings 4:31), its tone of victory contrasts sharply (and appropriately) with that of Psalm 88, written by Heman. Although Heman and Ethan were probably of the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:6), there were also two Levitical singers with these names associated with Asaph (1 Chronicles 15:17, 19), so the precise identification of Heman and Ethan is uncertain. With its fifty-two verses, Psalm 89 is the third longest of the psalms (after Psalm 119 and 78).

Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.

Psalm 89:3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

Psalm 89:4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah

Psalm 89:5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.

the heavens. Psalm 89:5-8 of this unique psalm indicates that its setting is in heaven, with “the congregation of saints” assembled around God's throne, eulogizing the Lord and His mighty works. These “saints” are the holy angels, “the sons of the mighty” (Psalm 89:6), gathered in “the assembly of the saints” (Psalm 89:7) to give praise to God.

Psalm 89:6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?

Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.

Psalm 89:8 O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

Psalm 89:9 Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

Psalm 89:10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

Rahab. This is not a reference to the Jericho woman of Joshua's time, but to Satan, the old “dragon” (see Isaiah 51:9). The two names are slightly different in Hebrew spelling, although pronounced and transliterated the same in English. The word used here means “proud” and is so translated in Job 9:13 and 26:12. In fact, the name of “Pride” can appropriately be assigned to Satan, for he is the very father of pride, presuming to war against his Creator! In a great day to come, he will indeed be “broken in pieces” and consigned forever to the lake of fire.

Psalm 89:11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.

earth also is thine. God is surely worthy of praise and worship. He has created heaven and earth, and therefore they belong to Him.

Psalm 89:12 The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.

created them. North-south directions could only be meaningful on a spherical planet if there are north and south “poles” on it—either geographic poles (formed by the establishment of an axial rotation) or magnetic poles (formed by the initiating of rotating electrical currents deep in the earth's core), or both. These were evidently created by God on the first day of Creation Week when God established the cycle of day and night (Genesis 1:3-4).

Psalm 89:13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.

Psalm 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Psalm 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 89:16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.

Psalm 89:17 For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

Psalm 89:18 For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

Psalm 89:19 Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.

Psalm 89:20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

anointed. David was “anointed” as king, but he is also a type of the Messiah (i.e., the “anointed one”), as is evident from Psalm 89:27-29, 36-37. At this point, Psalm 89 becomes essentially a Messianic psalm, fulfilled in part in the experiences of David but ultimately fulfilled only in Christ.

Psalm 89:21 With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him.

Psalm 89:22 The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him.

Psalm 89:23 And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him.

Psalm 89:24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted.

Psalm 89:25 I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers.

in the rivers. This indicates that the “anointed” one (Psalm 89:20) is owner of all the life-sustaining waters of the world.

Psalm 89:26 He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.

Psalm 89:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

my firstborn. As God's “firstborn,” He is the heir of God's created world (Psalm 2:8). All the kings of the earth are stewards, not owners.

Psalm 89:28 My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him.

Psalm 89:29 His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven.

Psalm 89:30 If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments;

Psalm 89:31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments;

Psalm 89:32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes.

Psalm 89:33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail.

Psalm 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.

Psalm 89:35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.

Psalm 89:36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.

Psalm 89:37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah

for ever as the moon. The moon will exist forever, as will the throne of Christ.

Psalm 89:38 But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed.

wroth with thine anointed. How could God be angry with His “anointed”—that is, His Messiah? He had just promised that His seed and His throne would—like the sun—endure forever (Psalm 89:36). The only rationale for such an anomaly would be that He had been “covered ... with shame” (Psalm 89:45), that is, God “hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In his persecution by Saul and other enemies, even after being anointed as future king, David was a type of the Messiah, but the ultimate fulfillment awaited the crucifixion of Christ.

Psalm 89:39 Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant: thou hast profaned his crown by casting it to the ground.

Psalm 89:40 Thou hast broken down all his hedges; thou hast brought his strong holds to ruin.

Psalm 89:41 All that pass by the way spoil him: he is a reproach to his neighbours.

Psalm 89:42 Thou hast set up the right hand of his adversaries; thou hast made all his enemies to rejoice.

Psalm 89:43 Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.

Psalm 89:44 Thou hast made his glory to cease, and cast his throne down to the ground.

Psalm 89:45 The days of his youth hast thou shortened: thou hast covered him with shame. Selah

Psalm 89:46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?

Psalm 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah

Psalm 89:49 Lord, where are thy former lovingkindnesses, which thou swarest unto David in thy truth?

Psalm 89:50 Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people;

Psalm 89:51 Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.

Psalm 89:52 Blessed be the LORD for evermore. Amen, and Amen.

Amen, and Amen. This verse constitutes the doxology that ends Book III of the Book of Psalms.