“But Jesus looked
He said to them.
This is impossible.
But with God,
All things are possible.’”
ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν, παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά.
This saying about the power of God and the impotence of humans can be found in Mark, chapter 10:27, word for word, and Luke, chapter 18:27, but slightly different. Jesus looked at them (ἐμβλέψας δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς) and told them (εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that this would be impossible for mortal men (Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις τοῦτο ἀδύνατόν ἐστιν), but with God, all things were possible (παρὰ δὲ Θεῷ πάντα δυνατά), since he could do everything. This could be an allusion to Genesis, chapter 18:14, when Sarah laughed when she was told she was going to have a son or Jeremiah, chapter 32:17, when he was talking about creation. What humans were not able to do, God was able to do.
“Thus says Yahweh.
Who made the earth.
Yahweh formed it
To establish it.
Yahweh is his name.
‘Call to me!
I will answer you!
I will tell you great things.
I will tell you hidden things
That you have not known.’”
Yahweh has made the earth, as he formed it and established it. There is no doubt that Yahweh was his name. Because Yahweh is so powerful, he wants them to call to him, since he was going to answer them. He would tell them great and hidden things that they did not know about.
“It is always in your power
To show great strength.
Who can withstand the might of your arm?
Because the whole world is before you
Like a speck that tips the scales.
It is like a drop of morning dew
That falls upon the ground.
But you are merciful to all.
You can do all things.
You overlook people’s sins.
Thus they may repent.
You love all things that exist.
You detest none of the things
That you have made.
You would not have made anything
If you had hated it.
How would anything have endured,
If you had not willed it?
How would anything not called forth by you
Have been preserved?
You spare all things.
They are yours. O Lord!
You love the living!”
This is like a great prayer to God, who has power and strength. No one is able to withstand the might of his arm. The whole world (ὅλος ὁ κόσμος) is like a speck or a drop of morning dew before him. This is reminiscent of the folk spiritual song He’s got the Whole World in his Hands. God is also merciful to all. He overlooks people’s sins so that man can repent (ἀνθρώπων εἰς μετάνοιαν). He loves (ἀγαπᾷς) all things, but he detests none since he made everything. If God hated anything, it would not endure. If he did not will it, it would not happen. He has preserved all things, since all belongs to the Lord who loves all (πάντων) living things.
“But you indeed are awesome!
Who can stand before you?
When once your anger is roused?
From the heavens
You uttered judgment.
The earth feared.
The earth was still.
God rose up to establish judgment.
He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth.”
God was awesome! No one could stand before him once his anger was aroused. From heaven he uttered his judgment. Thus the earth feared and was still. God established his judgment. He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
My King is from of old.
He is working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might.
You broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan.
You gave him as food
For the creatures of the wilderness.
You cut openings for springs and torrents.
You dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day.
Yours also is the night.
You have established the luminaries.
You have established the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth.
You have made summer and winter.”
This is a prayer to God about his creative power. God had been an old fashioned king for a long time. He brought salvation to the earth. He divided the seas to produce the earth. He had to defeat the sea monsters, particularly the mythical Leviathan, the great beast that was so important in Job, chapter 41. However, God was able to defeat Leviathan and feed his body to the wild animals. God definitely controlled the water ways, big and small. He was in charge of day and night as well as all the heavenly lights, including the sun. He set up the boundaries of the earth. He had control of the seasons of the year with its various climate changes of summer and winter. God was the powerful creator of heaven and earth as well as the water and the land.
“Summon your might!
Show your strength!
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.
“Come and see
What God has done.
He is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land.
They passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him.
He rules by his might forever.
His eyes keep watch on the nations.
Let the rebellious not exalt themselves.”
Come and see the power of God and what he has done. He is awesome! Among the mortals he turned the sea to dry land, as the crossing of the Red Sea dominates among the powers of God. They were able to pass through the sea as if on dry land. Of course, the sons of Israel rejoiced because his rule is forever. He keeps an eye on all the nations, so that any rebellious group ought to be careful. Once again, this section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause, the Selah.
To the choirmaster leader, according to Lily of the Covenant, a Miktam of David, for instruction, when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
You have rejected us!
You have broken our defenses!
You have been angry!
You have caused the land to quake.
You have torn it open.
Repair the cracks in it!
It is tottering.
You have made your people
Suffer hard things.
You have given us wine to drink
That made us reel.
You have set up a banner
For those who fear you.
You want us to rally
To it from the bow.”
Psalm 60 has one of the longest titles of any of the psalms. As opposed to the earlier individual complaints of David, this is a group lament. Once again it is a choral song to the tune of “Lily of the Covenant,” which will be the tune of Psalm 80 also. According to 2 Samuel, chapter 8, it was David himself who killed the 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of the Salt. This was on an adventure into southern Syria. He actually had been successful but this psalm is more about failure. Somehow God has rejected them, a theme often heard in the later time of captivity. Their defense had been broken. God was angry with them so he wanted God to restore them. They have had a mini earthquake so that there were cracks in the ground. The people had been suffering. Unfortunately, they had been drinking the wrong kind of wine. They wanted to rally around God’s banner out of the distance of bows and arrows. This section ended with a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.
A psalm of Asaph
“The Mighty One,
He summons the earth
From the rising of the sun
To its setting.
Out of Zion,
The perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes.
He does not keep silence.
Before him is a devouring fire.
A mighty tempest is all around him.
He calls to the heavens above.
He calls to the earth.
Thus he may judge his people.
‘Gather to me!
My faithful ones!
You made a covenant with me
The heavens declare his righteousness.
God himself is judge!”
This Psalm 50 is the first of 12 psalms ascribed to Asaph. Asaph was a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon. This may also refer to the group named after him that were musicians at the Temple. This Asaph is described in 1 Chronicles, chapter 6, as one who could trace his ancestors directly back to Levi. In 2 Chronicles, chapter 5, he is listed as a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This is a song of praise to the power of God, who is in charge of the earth. He has control of the rising and the setting of the sun. His beauty shines from Mount Zion. He has appeared as a devouring fire and a tempest. He has come to judge the people of earth from on high in heaven. He wanted the faithful ones who had made sacrifices to him to come closer to him. He was coming to judge them. With that it was time for another musical interlude pause, the Selah.
God is exalted in his power.
Who is a teacher like him?
Who has prescribed for him his way?
Who can say?
‘You have done wrong’”
Elihu wanted Job to recognize God. He pointed out that God was all powerful. There was no teacher like him. No one told him which way to go. He had never done anything wrong.