“This was to fulfill
What had been spoken
By the prophet.
‘I will open my mouth
To speak in parables.
I will proclaim
What has been hidden
From the foundation
Of the world.’”
ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου, ἐρεύξομαι κεκρυμμένα ἀπὸ καταβολῆς.
Matthew uniquely cited this prophecy from the Psalms, Psalm 78:2, where the psalmist Asaph explained the teachings from long ago. Jesus was going to open his mouth in parables about the old-fashioned sayings, like the wisdom writers. These sayings had been passed on from his ancestors, showing the great deeds of Yahweh that he had done for Israel. Jesus, via Matthew, justified or fulfilled (ὅπως πληρωθῇ) what the prophet Asaph in the psalms had said (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος) about the use of parables. He would open his mouth in parables (Ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου) to proclaim the hidden mysteries from the foundations of the earth (ἐρεύξομαι κεκρυμμένα ἀπὸ καταβολῆς). The parables were a way of conveying wisdom, with only the initiated able to understand them.
“I was pushed hard,
So that I was falling.
But Yahweh helped me.
Yahweh is my strength!
Yahweh is my might!
He has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory
In the tents of the righteous.
‘The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!
The right hand of Yahweh is exalted!
The right hand of Yahweh does valiantly!’
I shall not die.
But I shall live.
I shall recount the deeds of Yahweh.
Yahweh has punished me severely.
But he did not give me over to death.”
Apparently the psalmist was pushed very hard on all sides. However, Yahweh had helped him since Yahweh was his strength, his might, and his salvation. Once the victory was obtained there were songs of victory. Within the tents of the righteous you could hear the chant about the right hand of Yahweh that had been valiant and exalted. The psalmist did not die, but lived. Therefore he was going to recount the great deeds of Yahweh his whole entire life. Yahweh had punished him severely, but he did not die. He was grateful for that.
“There is none like you among the gods!
There are not any works like yours!
All the nations that you have made shall come.
They shall bow down before you!
They shall glorify your name!
You are great!
You do wondrous things!
You alone are God!
Teach me your way!
Thus I may walk in your truth.
Give me an undivided heart.
Thus I may revere your name!”
David continued his prayer by saying that Yahweh was like no other god. There was nothing like his works. All the nations that Yahweh has made should come and bow down before him. They should glorify his name for all the great deeds that he has done. Yahweh alone was God. This was a strong monotheistic idea that Yahweh was the one true God, while there were other false gods. David wanted to be taught in the ways of God. He wanted to walk in truth with an undivided heart. He wanted to revere the name of Yahweh.
‘It is my grief
That the right hand of the Most High has changed.’
I will call to mind the deeds of Yahweh.
I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work.
I will muse on your mighty deeds.
Your way is holy!
What god is as great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders.
You have displayed your might among the peoples.
With your strong arm
You redeemed your people,
The descendents of Jacob and Joseph.”
Asaph, the psalmist, admitted that he was full of grief. He felt that God had changed his right hand over him. Thus he recalled the great works of God that he had performed for him in the good old days. He meditated on his great deeds. There was no other god like his God, who worked wonders. He had redeemed his people with a strong arm. His people were the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Notice the mention of Joseph, which is rare. This section ends with the meditative musical interlude pause of Selah.