Psalm 68

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. A Song.

1 Let God arise,
Let His enemies be scattered;
Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.

2 As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

3 But let the righteous be glad;
Let them rejoice before God;
Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly.

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name Yah,
And rejoice before Him.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

6 God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, Selah

8 The earth shook;
The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God;
Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

9 You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.

10 Your congregation dwelt in it;
You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.

11 The Lord gave the word;
Great was the company of those who proclaimed it:

12 “Kings of armies flee, they flee,
And she who remains at home divides the spoil.

13 Though you lie down among the sheepfolds,
You will be like the wings of a dove covered with silver,
And her feathers with yellow gold.”

14 When the Almighty scattered kings in it,
It was white as snow in Zalmon.

15 A mountain of God is the mountain of Bashan;
A mountain of many peaks is the mountain of Bashan.

16 Why do you fume with envy, you mountains of many peaks?
This is the mountain which God desires to dwell in;
Yes, the Lord will dwell in it forever.

17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand,
Even thousands of thousands;
The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place.

18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.

19 Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation! Selah

20 Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.

21 But God will wound the head of His enemies,
The hairy scalp of the one who still goes on in his trespasses.

22 The Lord said, “I will bring back from Bashan,
I will bring them back from the depths of the sea,

23 That your foot may crush them in blood,
And the tongues of your dogs may have their portion from your enemies.”

24 They have seen Your procession, O God,
The procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary.

25 The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after;
Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.

26 Bless God in the congregations,
The Lord, from the fountain of Israel.

27 There is little Benjamin, their leader,
The princes of Judah and their company,
The princes of Zebulun and the princes of Naphtali.

28 Your God has commanded your strength;
Strengthen, O God, what You have done for us.

29 Because of Your temple at Jerusalem,
Kings will bring presents to You.

30 Rebuke the beasts of the reeds,
The herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples,
Till everyone submits himself with pieces of silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.

31 Envoys will come out of Egypt;
Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God.

32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth;
Oh, sing praises to the Lord, Selah

33 To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens, which were of old!
Indeed, He sends out His voice, a mighty voice.

34 Ascribe strength to God;
His excellence is over Israel,
And His strength is in the clouds.

35 O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places.
The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people.

Blessed be God!

Several of my commentaries state that this psalm was composed for David’s procession with the Ark from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem and connect with with the Passover.

Could we read this Psalm in the original Hebrew, we would recognize the several names of the Godhead. He is called by the name “Elohim” in verse 2; He is called by the name “Adonai” in verse 11; “El Shaddai” in verse 15; “Jehovah” in verse 17; “Jah” in verse 4 and in verse 19, and “El” in verse 20. Here then is a Psalm in which all the characteristics of the Almighty are revealed. As Elohim, He is the strong one, a refuge of strength. As Adonai, He is the master, the one to be obeyed and to be served, and also the one to lead. As El Shaddai, He is the Almighty, the all-sufficient one, the one who comforts and strengthens. As Jehovah, He is the Redeemer, the ever-revealing God, the on constantly referred to as “I Am.” The name “Jah” is the contraction of Jehovah. All these names of God unfold the fact that He is able to meet all our needs under every circumstance of life. — Phillips, page 144.


This psalm is canonically linked to the previous one by continuing the same theme of God’s worldwide praise—from both Israel His people (vs. 7-8) as well as from all the kingdoms of the earth (v.32)—in this case focusing on the processional expression of that praise—while also introducing the focus of the following psalm, with which it shares a specific and direct messianic application (per the citation of v.18 in Ephesians 4:8). — Wechsler, page 175.


[Messiah] as the Head of Israel’s Triumph over Physical Distress (vs. 1-14) Just as the previous psalm began by employing the phraseology of Aaron when he blessed Israel by the LORD in Numbers 4:24-26, so this psalm—which continues the theme of the previous one—begins by employing the phraseology of Aaron’s brother Moses in Numbers 10:35, when he exhorted Israel onward from their camp after “the cloud of the LORD.” In this way David introduces what he goes on to specify—to wit: that God lead His people triumphantly through their present distress just as He led their ancestors through the wilderness (v.7) And not just to those distant ancestors, but also the successive generations to whom He confirmed (i.e., gave) His inheritance (v.9b)—i.e., the land of Canaan that He gave to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance (see Genesis 17:8; Psalm 104:10-11), in which He brought them plentiful rain and (v.9a) caused the armies of their enemies to flee (v.11; see 2 Samuel 5:24). — Wechsler, pages 175-176


company (v.11) — A feminine word to be translated, “The women who publish the tidings are a great host.” Israel’s victories were commonly celebrated by women singing and dancing (Exodus 15:20; 1 Samuel 18:6-7). — Ryrie, page 870


Verse 13 is a figure of peace (the sheepfold) with honor (the gold and silver). The verse reads: “Ye shall lie down among the sheepfolds, and ye shall be as the wings of a dove,” etc. “When Shaddai scattered kings in it (Canaan) it was as snow in Salmon”—that is, the kings disappeared before the Sun of Righteousness as snow before the sun of the heavens; they were as powerless as it. — Williams, page 352

Zalmon (v.14) = shady, dark — It was a high mountain near the Jordan River.

Bashan (v.15) — the high mountain country east of the Jordan, once occupied by giants. Or maybe snow-capped Mount Herman.

[Messiah] as the Head of Israel’s Triumph over Spiritual Distress (vs. 15-23) From imploring (vs. 1-2) and then affirming (vs. 4-14) God’s provision of material triumph, David moves on in this section to affirming God’s provision of spiritual triumph to Israel, culminating in v. 18 with the description of His triumph over death. That this is so clearly indicated by the direct application of this verse in Ephesians 4:8 to the triumphant procession of Christ from the grave, leading captive (i.e., as willing slaves; cf. Romans 6:18-19) those of Israel who had died in faith and were awaiting His resurrection in Abraham’s Bosom as “the first fruits of those who are asleep” (see 1 Corinthians 15:20; Matthew 27:52-53 [where the reference is to Jewish saints]. In citing verse 18, however, Paul has “He gave gifts to men” rather than “Thous received gifts among men.” … [This is] the meaning it always had, as now clarified by Christ’s ascension and confirmed to [Paul] by the Holy Spirit—to wit: that following the Son’s ascension and triumph over death, He distributed among the Church His gifts of grace, which are intended to “equip the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12)—and if for the building up of His body, which is the Church, then He who gave those gifts is, ultimately, also the one who receives them. This is consistent, moreover, with the ultimate goal of all history, which is not the aggrandizement of man, but the glory of God. — Wechsler, page 176

loads us with benefits (v.19) — Ryrie suggests this should be translated “bears our burdens”

The tribes of Benjamin, Judah, Zebulun and Naphtali in v. 27 probably refer to all 12 tribes since the two southernmost and two northernmost are mentioned.

Verses 21-23 refer to the regathering of Israel, and the destruction of a Gentile world ruler and his kingdom. This is described in Daniel 7.

[Messiah] as the Head of All Nations’ Triumph over All Distress (vs. 24-35) In consequence of God’s triumph over all distress, both material and spiritual, as evidenced by His procession (v.24) through the gates of death into His sanctuary (i.e., the heavenly Temple) “on high,” a procession will in turn come to Him from all nations—both from Israel (vs. 24-28) as well as from the Gentiles (vs. 29-35). Regarding this latter group David looks forward to that culminating procession of praise when, in fulfillment of his exhortation in Psalm 2:10, the nations are led in example by their kings (v.29) to sing praised to the Lord (v.32) and to ascribe strength to God (v.34), who rules from His sanctuary (v.35) in Jerusalem. — Wechsler, pages 177-178.


The future supremacy of Israel over all earthly monarchs, here compared, as in Daniel, to wild beasts (v.30), is predicted in the last stirring stanza of the song (vs. 28-35). The kings will bring their tribute money (vs. 29-31) for the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem. They will “stretch out their hands” in homage filled with gifts (v.31), and in adoration, for Messiah will be “terrible,” i.e., an object of reverential worship in that coming day of His power and glory (v.35). — Williams, page 352

Williams’ take:

The Redeemer waiting for in the previous Psalms now appears. The majesty of His person, the destruction of His foes, the deliverance and joy of His people, and their appointment as head of the nations furnish the context of the Psalm. His love to them in the Wilderness (vs. 7-10) and in Canaan (vs. 11-14) are cited as illustrating His future fellowship with them in the sanctuary  (vs. 24-27) and in the government of the world (vs. 28-35); and all is based upon His resurrection (vs. 17-18), as is declared in Acts 2 and Ephesians 4. — Williams, page 352.

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