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Psalm 67

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Nations Exhorted to Praise God Deeds
MT Intro
For the choir director; with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song
An Invocation and A Doxology Thanksgiving for A Good Harvest A Song of Thanksgiving Harvest Song
67:1-7 67:1-2 67:1-3 67:1-2 67:1-2
  67:3-4   67:3 67:3
    67:4-5 67:4 67:4
  67:5-7   67:5 67:5
    67:6-7 67:6-7 67:6-7

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. This Psalm, like Psalm 65 and Psalm 66, has a universal element (cf. Ps. 67:2,3,4,5,7, esp. Ps. 67:2). The goal of YHWH is

1. that the world may know Him (Ps. 67:2a)

2. that the world may be saved (Ps. 67:2b)

He makes Himself known through His

1. acts of creation

2. acts of election (i.e., Abraham and his seed)

3. acts of redemption (i.e., especially the Exodus, Wilderness Wanderings, and return from exile)

4. these acts are recorded for all to read in Scripture

5. future acts by promise and prophecy through the Messiah

 

B. This Psalm is characterized by the use of jussives.

1. God's acts

a. God be gracious, Ps. 67:1 — BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

b. God bless, Ps. 67:1 — BDB 138, KB 159, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

c. God cause His face to shine upon, Ps. 67:1 — BDB 21, KB 24, Hiphil jussive

d. God bless, Ps. 67:7 — BDB same as b

2. the people's response

a-b. the people praise (twice), Ps. 67:3 — BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil imperfect used in a jussive sense

c. the nations be glad, Ps. 67:4 — BDB 970, KB 1333, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

d. the nations sing for joy, Ps. 67:4 — BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense

e-f. repeat of verse 3 (i.e., a-b)

 

C. I have enjoyed so much the insights of Derek Kidner. His commentary on Genesis and Psalms in the Tyndale OT series is a blessing to me. At the beginning of his comments on this Psalm, he says:

"If a psalm was ever written round the promises to Abraham, that he would be both blessed and made a blessing, it could well have been such as this" (p. 254).

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 67:1-7
 1God be gracious to us and bless us,
 And cause His face to shine upon us—  Selah.
 2That Your way may be known on the earth,
 Your salvation among all nations.
 3Let the peoples praise You, O God;
 Let all the peoples praise You.
 4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
 For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
 And guide the nations on the earth.  Selah.
 5Let the peoples praise You, O God;
 Let all the peoples praise You.
 6The earth has yielded its produce;
 God, our God, blesses us.
 7God blesses us,
 That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

67:1 Verse 1 is a prayer that has a universal redemptive flavor. YHWH desires that all humans made in His image and likeness (cf. Gen. 1:26-27) be restored to fellowship following the rebellion and sin of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. The promise of Gen. 3:15 is directed to all humans (there is no Israel until the call of Abram in Genesis 12).

The salvation/restoration of the damaged "image" has been God's unalterable goal since the Fall (i.e., Isa. 2:2-4; 45:22; 52:10; 56:7; Micah 4:1-2). See the Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Psalm at Psalm 2 Introduction. It clearly states my basic theological presupposition and theological grid!

▣ "us" Who is the "us" (twice in Ps. 67:1 and Ps. 67:6b, 7a)? From the reference to Numbers 6 (i.e., the Aaronic blessing) one would assume Israel (cf. Ps. 4:6), but notice the other references.

1. the peoples, Ps. 67:3,4b,5a

2. all the peoples, Ps. 67:3,5b

3. the nations, Ps. 67:4a

4. the nations of the earth, Ps. 67:4c

5. all the ends of the earth, Ps. 67:7b

God desires the salvation of all (cf. John 3:16-17; 4:42; Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 John 2:1-2; 4:9-10).

▣ "Selah" See note at Psalm 3:2 and Introduction to Psalms, VII.

▣ "cause His face to shine upon us" This wording of the blessing of YHWH's personal presence and fellowship comes from the Aaronic blessing of Num. 6:22-27. The imagery is often repeated in the Psalms (cf. Ps. 4:6; 31:16; 80:3,7,19; 119:135).

67:2 "Your way" The way of God refers to His revelation. See the SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR GOD'S REVELATION at Ps. 1:2. Note the theological parallel at Ps. 16:11.

The theological concept of biblical faith as a way/road is crucial (see Psalm 1). Jesus described it as a gate and a road (cf. Matt. 7:13-27), a personal encounter followed by a Christ-centered life (cf. James 2:14-26). I have included the notes from my commentary on Acts 9:2 below.

Acts 9:2 "The Way" This was the early designation for believers (cf. Ps. 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22 and possibly 18:25,26). It has an OT background, speaking of lifestyle faith (cf. Ps. 1:1; 16:11; 119:105; 139:24; Pro. 4:10-19). Jesus uses this concept in Matt. 7:14 and uses the title for Himself in John 14:6. Christianity is a personal encounter followed by a daily relationship.

▣ "earth" See Special Topic at Psalm 1:2. Context determines meaning!

67:4 This verse cannot be negative (i.e., judgement only) because the judgment of God on uprightness will cause the nations to

1. be glad

2. sing for joy

3. be guided by God

The idea that the nations will be led by God takes on more significance when one notices the number of times (past, present, future) this term (BDB 634) is used of Israel (cf. Deut. 32:12; Neh. 9:12; Ps. 5:8; 23:3; 31:3; 43:3; 73:24; 78:14,53,72; 107:30; 139:10; 143:10). Now this same divine leadership is available for a repentant, believing, Gentile world (cf. Jer. 16:19).

67:6 The covenants of the OT promised agricultural blessings for those who obeyed the covenant (i.e., Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-28). This verse implies a repentant believing group among the peoples of the earth. It has an eschatological thrust.

The Bible begins in agricultural abundance (i.e., Garden of Eden) and ends with the same imagery (Revelation 21-22). This implies that the place of fellowship between God and humanity is a restored Garden of Eden (i.e., a cleansed and restored earth). There is no way to know if this is imagery or prophecy.

Many scholars have seen this Psalm as a harvest blessing based on this verse. However, the abundance of universal elements makes this doubtful. This Psalm is about God's desire for all the nations to know Him (cf. Ps. 67:2) and follow Him (Ps. 67:4) and, thereby be blessed (Ps. 67:6)!

67:7 "That all the ends of the earth may fear Him" This is the use of the word "fear" (BDB 431, KB 432) in the sense of awe, respect, reverence. This universal theme is also stated in Ps. 22:27 and 33:8.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. To whom is this Psalm addressed?

2. Why is verse 2 so theologically significant? Is this theme unique to this Psalm?

3. Explain verse 4 in your own words. Is it positive or negative?

4. Will heaven be a restored earth?

5. Is the theological thrust of this Psalm unique to the Psalter?