Sing to Yahweh (Ps 68:32-68:32)

“Sing to God!

O kingdoms of the earth!

Sing praises to Yahweh!”

Selah

Those at the Temple should sing to God. However, it is not just the Israelites who should sing to Yahweh, but all the kingdoms on earth. Everyone should sing praises to Yahweh. Once again, this verse ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.

The power of God (Ps 68:28-68:31)

“Summon your might!

O God!

Show your strength!

O God!

You have done this for us before.

Because of your temple at Jerusalem,

Kings bear gifts to you.

Rebuke the wild animals

That live among the reeds!

Rebuke the herd of bulls

With the calves of the peoples!

Trample under foot

Those who lust after tribute!

Scatter the peoples

Who delight in war!

Let bronze be

Brought from Egypt!

Let Ethiopia hasten

To stretch out its hands to God.”

As this great procession was headed to the wonderful Temple in Jerusalem, this was a wish that God show his powerful strength. God was to rebuke the wild animals along the reeds of the Nile River, an allusion to Egypt. He was to rebuke the bulls with their calves. He was to trample those people who wanted to collect tribute. He was to scatter the war mongers. The psalmist wanted bronze taken from Egypt. He also wanted Ethiopia to stretch out its hands to God.

The solemn processions (Ps 68:24-68:27)

“Your solemn processions are seen!

O God!

The processions

Of my God,

My King,

Into the sanctuary!

The singers are in front.

The musicians are last.

Between them are girls playing tambourines.

‘Bless God in the great congregation!

Yahweh!

O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’

There is Benjamin,

The least of them,

In the lead.

The princes of Judah are in a body.

The princes of Zebulun are there.

The princes of Naphtali are there.”

This is a description of a great procession into the Temple area. Yahweh is king and God. They head into the sanctuary area. The singers are in front with the musicians last, as girls with tambourines are in the middle. They are there to bless God who is the fountain and foundation of Israel. Only 4 tribes are mentioned, 2 from the north, Zebulun and Naphtali, and 2 from the south. Benjamin was the small tribe that King Saul had come from, while King David was from Judah. Thus the solemn march to the temple took place.

God will defeat his enemies (Ps 68:21-68:23)

“God will shatter the heads of his enemies.

God will shatter the hairy crown

Of those who walk in their guilty ways.

Yahweh said.

‘I will bring them back from Bashan.

I will bring them back from the depths of the sea.

Thus you may bathe your feet in blood.

The tongues of your dogs

May have their share from the foe.’

After the rousing praise for God, now we turn to the action of God. He was going to shatter the heads of his enemies. He would smash the hairy crowns of the guilty ones. He would bring them back from the mountains of Bashan, the Golan Heights, and from the depths of sea. Why would he bring his foes? Then the Israelites could bathe their feet in the blood of their enemies. After that the dogs could have a portion of their bodies. This was a gruesome description of the guilty enemies of God.

Yahweh came from Sinai (Ps 68:17-68:19)

“With mighty chariots,

Twice ten thousand,

Thousands upon thousands,

Yahweh came from Sinai

Into the holy place.

You ascended the high mountain.

You lead captives in your train.

You received gifts from people,

Even from those who rebel against

Yahweh God’s abiding there.

Blessed be Yahweh!

He daily bears us up!

God is our salvation!”

Selah

Yahweh had 20,000 chariots lead him from Mount Sinai to the new Mount Zion in Jerusalem. This seems a little exaggerated. He came into the new holy place leaving many captives along the way. Everyone gave him gifts, even those opposed to his stay at Mount Zion. Once again, this section ended with the musical interlude pause, the Selah. This came after the refrain that Yahweh was blessed, that God was their salvation.

The mighty Bashan Mountains (Ps 68:15-68:16)

“O mighty mountain!

Mountain of Bashan!

O many-peaked mountain!

Mountain of Bashan!

O many-peaked mountain!

Why do you look with envy

At the mount that God desired for his abode?

Yahweh will reside there forever.”

The mighty Bashan Mountains, east of the Sea of Galilee, today are called the Golan Heights, the border between Israel and Syria. These peaked mountains were a place of dispute in the biblical times, and even today. These mountains looked with envy on the mountain that Yahweh chose to abide, which would be Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Thus we have the personification of mountains.

God helped to defeat enemies (Ps 68:11-68:14)

“Yahweh gives the command.

Great is the company

Of those who bore the tidings.

‘The kings of the armies,

They flee!

They flee!’

The women at home

Divide the spoils.

Although they stayed among the sheepfolds,

They found

The wings of a dove covered with silver,

Its pinions with green gold.

When the almighty Shaddai scattered kings there,

Snow fell on Zalmon.”

When Yahweh gave the command, the armies of the enemy kings were defeated. They fled. The women at home or in the sheepfolds divided the spoils of the fleeing armies. This sounds like a settled people rather than a group in the wilderness. Among these spoils they found a silver dove with green gold feathers. When the almighty Shaddai, as opposed to Yahweh, scattered these kings, snow fell on Mount Zalmon, which was near Shechem. This mountain was mentioned in Judges, chapter 9. Snow would have been rare as this incident was not mentioned elsewhere in the biblical literature.

God provided rain (Ps 68:8-68:10)

“The earth quaked.

The heavens poured down rain

At the presence of God,

The God of Sinai,

At the presence of God,

The God of Israel.

Rain in abundance!

O God!

You showered abroad!

You restored your heritage

When it languished.

Your flock found a dwelling in it.

In your goodness,

O God!

You provided for the needy!

God provided for the rain in abundance while they were in the wilderness. The earth quaked and rains came tumbling down. Just when they were languishing in the desert, the rains came when the presence of God appeared, the God of Mount Sinai and Israel. God’s heritage continued in his goodness as he provided for the needy.

Remembering the wilderness march (Ps 68:7-68:7)

“O God!

You went out before your people!

You marched through the wilderness!”

Selah

The psalmist remembers that God led his people through the desert. God was the leader of the march through the wilderness. They could not have made it without God. Once again, this verse ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.